The Null Device
This week's Parking Lot is Full should appeal to those of a dreadlocked anti-capitalist bent.
The global Napster situation: Dave Stewart, formerly one half of Eurythmics, has praised Napster, as a means of putting artists back in control of their music
He welcomed the growth of music download site Napster and the many copycat services that have sprung up because they are helping to dismantle the system that allows music created and marketed by companies to flourish, producing groups that look and sound alike.
Stewart is also working with Paul Allen, the former Microsoft founder, on a system that allows artists to communicate more directly with their audience.
The local Napster situation: It appears that both Monash University and the University of Melbourne are following the lead of 33% of US universities and blocking Napster on their networks (mostly for reasons of bandwidth costs).
They look so peaceful, don't they? A NBC investigative reporter has found out that an alarmingly high proportion of the toy cat figurines sold in the US are made from real cat fur. Various Chinese factories slaughter cats and dogs and use the fur to make those cute stuffed toys you see in shops; though sometimes this is intentionally mislabelled as rabbit fur as not to upset consumer sensitivities.
`What you're actually looking at there is what was a cat, killed in the most inhumane manner you can imagine, so that the fur could be glued to this plastic figurine. It's grotesque.'
(via Boing Boing)
An American couple wants to clone their dead 10-month-old daughter, and has enlisted the help of the Raelian UFO cult. Whilst the agency in question may seem somewhat dubious, the technology exists and chances are this sort of thing will happen, as people with too much money have deceased relatives and loved ones cloned and companies in the business make a killing doing so. Until people get enough of a clue to realise that a clone, despite sharing all genetic material with the original, is nonetheless an entirely different person, anyway. (Just ask anyone who has met identical twins.) (via RobotWisdom)
As the latest wave of Hollywood films, bogged down by conservative, formulaic scripting and characterisation, flounder, the studios have embraced a damage-limitation strategy: don't let the critics see them in time to warn the public.
Why we need reverse engineering, and why new copyright laws are dangerous to us all:
Many of the privacy risks we face today such as the unique computer identification numbers in Microsoft Office documents, the sneaky collection of data by Real Jukebox, or the use of Web bugs and cookies to track users were only discovered by opening up the hood and seeing how things really work. Companies do not publish this kind of information publicly.
CueCat ... added a trivial encoding scheme, which they call encryption, so that their bar code scanner was protected against reverse engineering by the DMCA. We can expect to see many more companies do this.